How to Make Chinese Five Spice? So today, we wanted to show you how to whip up some homemade five-spice powder.
It’s definitely a useful thing to have in the cupboard, but before we jump in here.
I do think it’s important to note that Chinese five-spice isn’t necessarily just five spices, and it’s usually not a powder.
See, I’d think about five spice as kind of like ‘mixed herbs’ in French cuisine.
How To Make Chinese Five Spice?
Mixed herbs can be a this, or this, and different dishes and different cooks can use different mixes.
The analogy’s not perfect, but you can see five-spice or ‘wuxiang’ as a flavor in a lot of different things.
The spice mix can do everything from season oils to braises and a lot of the time it’s not gunna be in powdered form.
So while a pet peeve of mine is those recipe writers that’ll slap in some pre-packaged spice mix and call their dish “Cajun”,or Italian or Chinese whatever you certainly see do five-spice powder around in Chinese cooking.
And like most spice mixes? Homemade is tastier.
The fundamental mix here is fennel seed, cinnamon, star anise, Sichuan peppercorn, and clove.
Now again, know that there’s a lot of different mixes here, and some bottles end up flirting with double digits.
But besides those classic five, two other commonly seen additions are licorice root and some dried ginger powder,so feel free
to add those too if you’re so inclined.
Now, before grinding, we like to toast our spices.
Not everyone does this, we are probably in the minority here, but it tastes good, so we’d recommend the step.
So here we’re going in with one-star anise, a quarter of a cinnamon stick, and four cloves.
Give those a toast over a low flame for about three or four minutes,or until they start to smell real nice then add in two teaspoons
of fennel seed.
Also, if you like, at this point you can also toss in your Sichuan peppercorn.
Toasting your Sichuan peppercorn impart a real nice fragrance but also, of course, amplify its numbing quality.
For most usages, it’ll be subtle enough, but today we left the peppercorn untoasted in order to make more of an all-purpose five
So after about three minutes, shut off the heat, and toss in one tablespoon of Sichuan peppercorns.
Continue to move that around a bit in order to cool that all down than out and on a plate.
Now just transfer those over to a coffee or spice grinder.
Traditionally this would be done in a mortar of course but you can’t argue with the speed and efficacy of the grinder.
Now just pass that through a fine-mesh sieve then take the remaining coarse powder and grind that again.
Give it another quick sift, and either discard or separately save the coarse bits.
Now just transfer over to a jar or bottle, and that’s it.
Some homemade five-spice powder that’ll be tangibly more flavorful than that sad old bottle of McCormicks at your local supermarket.
So five-spice powder you’ll often see as a rub for roast meats, it’s often used in some kind of dip mixing with salt and go with deep-fried stuff which’s called wuxiang huaiyan.
And occasionally you will see it tossed in stir fries, but that’s not overly common.
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